EDC board wishes for more peaceful politics this Christmas

SALISBURY — Many board members for the Economic Development Commission say they wish for one thing this holiday season — peace and harmony in Rowan County.

When EDC Executive Director Robert Van Geons asked the board and staff on Wednesday to make a Christmas wish for Rowan, a few said jobs and several mentioned better education.


But most referred in some way to the ongoing tension between Salisbury and Rowan County elected officials, saying they wanted more cooperation and fewer personal agendas.

Board member Paul Brown said he wants to see a focus on the needs and goals of the community, not “personal needs and goals.”

Dianne Green asked for a “positive Rowan County, rather than a negative Rowan County.”

James Taylor’s wish is to “see all leaders work together for the improvement of the community and not personal agendas.”

Taylor joked that he would love to know how someone could write a 142-page report about making personal copies.

The report was part of an investigation by other commissioners into Commissioner Jon Barber’s actions.

Taylor said there are important issues to tackle and encouraged the county to apply for lottery money to start a vocational school like a neighboring county.

“We are not even pursuing it,” he said. “… You don’t get what you wish for but what you want to work hard for.”

Taylor, former chairman of the EDC board, acknowledged that he was outspoken Wednesday because he is rotating off the board, having reached his term limit. The board and EDC staff thanked Taylor for years of service and enthusiastic leadership.

Rowan County commissioners had three spots on the EDC board to fill. They tapped Brown for another term but did not reappoint Greg Philpot, an executive with Novant Health Rowan Medical Center who wanted to continue serving.

Pete Teague, chairman of the board, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the decision.

In place of Philpot and Taylor, Rowan commissioners appointed John Leatherman and Darlene Blount, who will join in January.

Leatherman attended Wednesday’s meeting and offered his Christmas wish for Rowan, “A new spirit of cooperation for the benefit of all,” he said.

Contact Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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